|We all have the choice of whether to go to work and pay someone else to care for our children, or stay at home and raise our families ourselves (this choice involves some much more difficult decisions for some over others). Why would the government at all be involved when we choose to stay home and do (better, in my opinion) for ourselves? Is the perspective that the government ends up subsidizing those who work via social security, etc.? ...I'm not usually so across-the-board Libertarian, but we need to keep in mind how much control the government gets to exert when they're giving benefits. I'm not sure it's worth the price - I'd rather they just get out of my way, and stop coddling the status quo.
The perspective is that if one member of a duo stays at home to raise the children, that member then is not recognized as a productive member of society by governmental standards (in the United States), and thus, if the couple separates, the member who has stayed home--sacrificing earning potential for the greater good of raising the children--is highly vulnerable to poverty. In a divorce situation, the SAHPs income potential is calculated by the last job held, essentially, thus, if the person has stayed at home for 20 years, woe betide that person. The further argument, particularly in higher income families, is that the higher earning member of the duo could not have made it to such heights without the participation and sacrifice of the member who stayed home, and thus, should reliably be entitled to half of all assets--which is not the case across the board. I can think of two examples;
My mother stayed at home and raised the three of us throughout our childhoods. My parents divorced when I was almost thirteen (I'm the youngest, the oldest was 20, my parents had been married for 21 years) and my mother and I were thrown from solid middle class to impoverishment. My dad made sure I was taken care of, but the divorce awarded my mother about $10,000 at the time (early 80s). I remember at the time she said something about it being a drop in the bucket and I didn't understand. Now I do. Not that she necessarily ached for a career or even had training, but at least if she'd trained to, say, be a teacher, she'd have had a higher earning potential calculated into the settlement...she has struggled since then and never been at all financially stable, while my father has been able to recoup any financial loss he originally incurred. And he's a good guy, they had a very amicable divorce, with no custodial issues whatsoever, and he faithfully paid child support and alimony.
A more current example is a family who lives in my neighborhood. The wife is the primary bread winner and the husband stays at home. She makes a considerable amount of money and is able to do so because her dh is shuttling the children to all their activities, doing homework, making dinner, doing laundry, etc., all the things SAHPs do so that she can be at board meetings twice monthly, hit graduations, work from 6 to 6, etc. I would say that without him, she could not have the job she holds and hope to have any quality of life for her children, kwim? It takes one person willing to sacrifice for some jobs.
The point is not so much that she is saying the government should be highly involved, but that during divorces, or deaths or whatever, a higher premium should be placed on the value of the person who stays at home raising children, and that these people should be considered valuable, contributing members of society as much as a person who WOH and brings home a steady paycheck.
I work, myself. I read this book for my book group a couple of years ago, and I had not wanted to read it because I didn't want to be chastised by the group members because I'm a WOHM. And of course, one of the members COMPLETELY missed her point that mothers in general have got to band together and stop fighting the SAHM/WOHM fight and, while sitting in my house, said, "Mothers who work should not have children." Also said in the presence of her own mother, a UU minister, obviously a working mother. When I called her on it, she said, "Oh, I meant those mothers who have their kids at daycare at 6:30 in the morning..." Again, she was sitting in my house!
A great book. A must read.
eta; Oh. And I do raise my family myself, thankyouverymuch...which again, is her point. Snipes like these hurt all of us.